Pets versus cows greenhouse gas emissions co2 equivalent

“As pet ownership increases in some developing countries, especially China, and trends continue in pet food toward higher content and quality of meat, globally, pet ownership will compound the environmental impacts of human dietary choices.” 

Gregory S. Okin
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Research summary

At petgood we are committed to leave no pawprints behind; sustainability is one of our core philosophies. There is a growing global demand for consumable protein sources by both humans and animals. Insects represent a highly sustainable protein source, as they have a favourable feed conversion efficiency, and can be reared on organic side streams (i.e. organic plant and grain waste products). They produce 94% less greenhouse emissions, and utilize 93% less land, 92% less feed and 80% less water in comparison to beef (see sources below). This makes our insect-based dog food a sustainable and healthy alternative for our companion animals. Full overview of insects’ sustainability profile compared to traditional meat sources can be found on our planet benefits page.

Selected research on the environmental impact of food consumption by dogs and cats

Impact of dog and cat food consumption

Okin GS (2017) Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0181301. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181301
Abstract: In the US, there are more than 163 million dogs and cats that consume, as a significant portion of their diet, animal products and therefore potentially constitute a considerable dietary footprint. Here, the energy and animal-derived product consumption of these pets in the US is evaluated for the first time, as are the environmental impacts from the animal products fed to them, including feces production. In the US, dogs and cats consume about 19% ± 2% of the amount of dietary energy that humans do (203 ± 15 PJ yr-1 vs. 1051 ± 9 PJ yr-1) and 33% ± 9% of the animal-derived energy (67 ± 17 PJ yr-1 vs. 206 ± 2 PJ yr-1). They produce about 30% ± 13%, by mass, as much feces as Americans (5.1 ± Tg yr-1 vs. 17.2 Tg yr-1), and through their diet, constitute about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides. Dog and cat animal product consumption is responsible for release of up to 64 ± 16 million tons CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gasses (GHGs). Americans are the largest pet owners in the world, but the tradition of pet ownership in the US has considerable costs. As pet ownership increases in some developing countries, especially China, and trends continue in pet food toward higher content and quality of meat, globally, pet ownership will compound the environmental impacts of human dietary choices. Reducing the rate of dog and cat ownership, perhaps in favor of other pets that offer similar health and emotional benefits would considerably reduce these impacts. Simultaneous industry-wide efforts to reduce overfeeding, reduce waste, and find alternative sources of protein will also reduce these impacts. 

Full peer-reviewed academic report: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

Newspaper article covering above report: https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/pet-carbon-emissions-not-owning-dog-equivalent-to-being-vegetarian/news-story/c6e564af02285ab7d6d57c28a1d3843b

It's tasty. It's nutritious. It's natural. It's sustainable. It's science-based. It's the pet food revolution.

Pernilla Westergren, Founder & CEO